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How Do Security Technology and Emergency Preparedness Intersect? School Security Plan Q&A, #4

This is part 4 of a Q&A of school administrators regarding their thoughts on school security plans.  For more information on the three participants, Rebecca Jurs, Greg Rabenhorst, and Scott Mackall, see part 1 of this series here.

Q4: Where do you see the intersection between security technology and emergency preparedness?

RJ: With our system, my staff have the ability to remotely initiate a lockdown if they need to. That's a big piece because before updating the process and system, I would have 10 teachers out or my kids out at recess, for example, and the assumption is that in an emergency you're either evacuating or you're coming in to the building to pull an alarm. But with our system, with a wearable mobile emergency notification device, it can be activated right there on the spot, and it initiates lockdown building-wide, inside and out, so that any potential threat has less of a chance of reaching the masses.

The other piece is that the technology helps the first responders and administrators in these crisis situations—because we get a text, voicemail and email—and the first responders also get these notifications. First responders can have video access or get a map of the school and of where the initial notification was initiated.

This technology gives law enforcement a starting point when they're pulling up onto the scene.
Another benefit is that BluePoint Alert simultaneously notifies the perpetrator that the building is in lockdown and the authorities have been called.

SM: I see the intersection in decreased response time and real time information to the first responders in a crisis situation. Imagine law enforcement having access to the school camera system and knowing the location within a building the intruder was last spotted. Some of these campuses are over million square feet with up to 20 entrances. How much time will be saved if we can direct them to the correct location in the building? How many lives could be saved if the resources of the first responders are directed at the threat and they have real time information?

GR: Security technology is the link to effective communication. In a school site emergency there are many contributing elements. Students and teachers may be isolated in different rooms in the building, first responders arrive on scene and need to quickly assess the “who, why, what and how” within seconds to minimize loss of life and property, and those outside the situation desperately want information. Accurate, real-time communication of facts can increase the success of diffusing the situation quickly to minimize further harm or risk. Technology can effectively provide on-site communications, pinpointing of locations, and timely messaging to help everyone receive information quickly and accurately.

In part 5, the panel answers the question "What can school administrators do to be proactive about school security?"

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